USA Today Gets it Right, Nature Gets it Wrong
Climate Change Weekly #116
USA Today editorialized last week that the unusual cold weather affecting the U.S. doesn’t necessarily mean man-made global warming isn’t happening. They contacted The Heartland Institute for an opposing view, and I was happy to oblige them. This is the second time USA Today turned to us for an opposing view (the first time, Heartland’s Joseph Bast balanced their coverage of the release of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers for AR5), and we thank them for it. Of course, the left goes berserk whenever a mainstream media organ acknowledges the existence of scientific debate on the climate change issue. Get over it, fellows. The longer the weather fails to cooperate with your inaccurate forecasts, the more real scientists are going to challenge your hypothesis… as they should.
You might not think a daily newspaper could teach the editors of Nature, the eminent science journal, any lessons about how to report on a scientific debate, but you would be wrong. The editors of Nature are deep into denial of the latest research on the causes and consequences of climate change, publishing the most flawed and implausible research from the most frequently discredited scientists and activists for man-made global warming. It’s been awhile since they’ve allowed any skeptics to appear on their precious pages. Heartland’s Bast keeps an eye on Nature, regularly sharing his thoughts on the latest articles on climate change with some of us. Since I was on the road much of the past week, and since he offered, I’m including his latest article reviews in this issue of CCW.
IN THIS ISSUE
USA Today asks the right questions about recent cold snap ... Nature backpedals but won't admit it ... California drought less severe than pre-warming drought … Addressing climate change ranks dead last in priorities poll … Mann shoots self in foot in New York Times editorial
USA TODAY: WHAT DOES RECENT COLD WEATHER SUGGEST?
“This winter’s multiple extreme cold outbreaks are a stark reminder that global warming activists have routinely and brazenly exaggerated the effects of global warming,” I observe in USA Today. Each new, historic cold snap provides yet another scientific reason to doubt dire predictions about human-caused warming.
“Cold spells, heat waves and extreme weather events will continue to occur as our planet modestly warms. This winter’s extreme cold outbreaks illustrate that global warming is not changing our planet’s climate severely, as activists claim. To the extent changes are occurring, these are benefiting rather than harming human health and welfare,” the article explains. A poll accompanies the USA Today article, allowing readers to register their agreement or disagreement with global warming realism.
SOURCE: USA Today
NATURE: MORE BACKTRACKING, BUT AS SURE AS EVER
Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, supplies the following reviews of articles that appeared in the January 16, 2014 issue of Nature:
An unsigned editorial titled “Cool heads needed” warns the unusual cold weather doesn’t prove or disprove the theory of anthropogenic global warming. “Climate skeptics” have “celebrated” and “pounced on” the short-term trend, but “scientists” understand “that global warming might in fact be contributing to the string of abnormally cold US winters in recent years.” At least the editorial writers confirm once again the existence of “the hiatus,” reporting “the average global temperature ... has plateaued since 1998.” After some refreshing admissions that “plenty of questions remain. ... Exactly how sensitive is Earth’s climate system to increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases?” and “if the past is any indication, we may have to live with a fair degree of uncertainty,” the authors copy-and-paste their pat conclusion, seemingly unaware of the blatant non sequitur: “The range of potential impacts projected by climate models warrants much more aggressive action than has been initiated so far.” Huh?
“Researchers question rescued polar expedition,” by Alexandra Witze, and a related letter from the Australian Antarctic Division in correspondence cite critics of Chris Turney’s failed propaganda feat in the Antarctic, saying he grossly exaggerated the scientific value of the expedition. But oddly, these articles don’t mention global warming. (There is one oblique reference in the first article to ocean currents’ impact “on the global carbon cycle.”) So the establishment continues its desperate attempt to hide the fact that this was an alarmist PR event that backfired badly on them.
“The Case of the Missing Heat,” by Jeff Tollefson, reviews research on why “the warming stalled” in 1998. Tollefson reports “the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field.” “Climate skeptics,” he writes, “have seized on the temperature trends as evidence that global warming has ground to a halt. Climate scientists, meanwhile, know that heat must be still building up somewhere in the climate system, but they have struggled to explain where it is going, if not into the atmosphere. Some have begun to wonder whether there is something amiss in their models.” And so on, in like fashion.
Tollefson is annoying in how he bows to political correctness by pretending skeptics are not scientists and scientists are unified in their embrace of alarmism, and understating the crisis of confidence that faces a largely discredited profession. He’s more interesting in his interviews with authors of recent research. He’s disappointing in his neglect of “skeptics” who explained all this much better long ago. He ends on a cowardly note: “Sooner or later, the trend will inevitably reverse. ... And when that happens, if scientists are on the right track, the missing heat will reappear and temperatures will spike once again.” This sounds like a test of the alarmists’ theory ... but of course, such a thing isn’t allowed on the pages of Nature. He doesn’t tell us when and how much would prove the alarmists right or wrong. Hard to imagine he didn’t ask that obvious question. I wonder how he justifies not reporting their answers.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT LESS SEVERE THAN PRE-WARMING DROUGHTS
Long before our modest recent warming began, California experienced much longer and more severe droughts than its current, headline-grabbing drought, scientists report. The San Jose Mercury News provides insight from climate experts on the longer droughts, while pointing out that water use tied to agriculture makes the current drought seem more severe than would otherwise be the case.
“We continue to run California as if the longest drought we are ever going to encounter is about seven years. We’re living in a dream world,” said Scott Stine, professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay, in the Mercury News article.
SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE RANKS DEAD LAST IN PRIORITIES POLL
A new poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows global warming ranks dead last among 13 public policy priorities. The poll asked which issues should be an absolute priority for President Barack Obama and Congress, and respondents could choose as many of the 13 issues as they liked.
Just 27 percent said addressing climate change should be an absolute priority. A greater number – 29 percent – said Obama and Congress should not address the issue at all. A 41 percent plurality said Obama and Congress should wait before addressing climate change.
No other option was even close to the lack of support for climate change action. Enacting pension and entitlement reform ranked next-to-last at 38 percent.
SOURCE: NBC News/Wall Street Journal
MANN SHOOTS SELF IN FOOT IN NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL
Prominent global warming alarmist Michael Mann recently authored a New York Times editorial presenting global warming activists’ best arguments in favor of a global warming crisis. A quick look at his weak arguments and false claims shows why the American public is increasingly siding with skeptics in the global warming debate. Mann slays straw-man arguments that are not even debated among most alarmists and skeptics, while at the same time scandalously misrepresenting the findings and views of climate scientists. Mann’s self-defeating arguments are meticulously picked apart at Forbes.com.